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Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation

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ISBN-13: 978-0231139519
ISBN-10: 0231139519
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Editorial Reviews


adds greatly to the understanding of both the ethical thinking about human and nonhuman animals and the campaigning and claims-making that occurs on behalf of animals.

(Roger Yates Sociology)


Virtually all the articles and essays collected here are milestones in the formation of the modern theory of the legal and moral rights of animals. Gary L. Francione knows his philosophy as well as his law and these juridical studies work close to the line where law and philosophy merge. His prose, furthermore, is clear and free of legal jargon. I strongly recommend this collection of important essays. It provides a lucid summary of a significant body of thought on animal rights.

(Julian H. Franklin, professor emeritus of political philosophy, Columbia University)|

Coolly, lucidly, and uncompromisingly, with a minimum of horror stories, Gary L. Francione argues for the right of all sentient beings to a full life. His critique of animal-welfare legislation, with its many escape clauses that allow the business of animal exploitation to proceed as usual, is particularly devastating.

(J. M. Coetzee, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature)|

Gary L. Francione builds on the themes of his first three rights-based books, synthesizes them, adds new ingredients, and bring it all up to date in a striking restatement of animal rights philosophy for the twenty-first century. As the pioneer of the abolitionist approach to animal rights, Francione is an extremely important figure in animal ethics. This new volume is not only high-quality scholarship but also provides the theoretical foundations for a new social movement which takes rights seriously as its core claims about human-nonhuman relations.

(Roger Yates, University College, Dublin)|

Darwin once made a note to himself: "Never use the words 'higher' or 'lower.'" Well it took all this time before finally somebody did just that! That somebody is Gary L. Francione, thinking, as always, just beyond what anyone else has already thought. He is a radical, in the best sense of that word, always striking out (sometimes on his own) into areas where the rest of humanity has feared to tread. He goes out, and he comes back with treasure that the rest of us are only to happy to use and appropriate. That's o.k., I am sure, with him. He is not in this for his sake, but for their sake. So anything that will get us to take the vegan plunge (as I recently did, partly because I can see no way to avoid the arguments that Francione so cogently sets forth in this wonderful collection of essays), to stop making excuses for the Eichmann's of the animals and to recognize that when a nonhuman animal dies before his or her time, and under conditions of someone else's making, a tragedy has occurred that is every bit as momentous as the same tragedy in the life of a human animal. We are, all of us who are concerned with the lives (as opposed to the deaths) of animals, deeply in Francione's debt, whether we know it or not, whether we like him or not, and whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

(Jeffrey Masson, author of Altruistic Armadillos, Zenlike Zebras: A Menagerie of 100 Favorite Animals)|

The most wholly consistent animal rights position available today is Gary L. Francione's. In philosophical essays such as these his dedication to defining what it means to give the interests of nonhumans equal moral consideration shines through in a remarkably clear and uncompromising way. Francione conducts a rigorous cross-examination of utilitarianism (animal liberation theory), alternative animal rights and animal welfare views, feminist care ethics as applied to animals, and United States animal protection law, all of which creates a more meaningful and compelling context for his own approach. Those who seriously engage with this book will not only expand their horizons but also demand a much higher standard of argument in this field ever after.

(Michael Allen Fox, professor emeritus of philosophy, Queen's University, Canada, adjunct professor, School of Humanities, University of New England (Australia), and author of Deep Vegetarianism)|

Gary L. Francione's searing and insightful theoretical vision shines through in this key work that extends and deepens the substantive area of inquiry in abolitionist animal studies that he has singlehandedly created. Part iconoclast, part theorist, and part activist, Francione is unafraid to upend conventional theoretical and practical approaches to our treatment of animals in his analytical rigor. Without a doubt, this volume will remain a central work in animal studies for years to come.

(Bob Torres, assistant professor of sociology, St. Lawrence University, and author of Making A Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights)|

In this uncompromising and stimulating call for the abolition of all forms of oppression of other animals, Gary L. Francione establishes himself as one of the leading advocates for justice in the world today. In these powerful essays, Francione methodically and unflinchingly examines and deconstructs the ineffectual positions of many professed advocates for other animals and points the way toward true animal liberation. He exposes the pragmatic and moral flaws in the arguments of those who call merely for reduced cruelty and better regulation of industries that are based on animal oppression. His forceful and compelling arguments against contemporary 'animal welfarism' and in favor of true animal rights should be required reading for scholars, activists, and anyone interested in justice for all the inhabitants of this planet.

(David Nibert, author of Animal Rights/Human Rights: Entanglements of Oppression and Liberation)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231139519
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231139519
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gary L. Francione is Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark.

He received his B.A. in philosophy from the University of Rochester, where he was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa O'Hearn Scholarship that allowed him to pursue graduate study in philosophy in Great Britain. He received his M.A. in philosophy and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He was Articles Editor of the Virginia Law Review.

After graduation, he clerked for Judge Albert Tate, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court. He was an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore in New York City before joining the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1984, where he was tenured in 1987. He joined the Rutgers faculty in 1989.

Professor Francione has been teaching animal rights and the law for more than 20 years, and he was the first academic to teach animal rights theory in an American law school. He has lectured on the topic throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, including serving as a member of the Guest Faculty of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has been a guest on numerous radio and television shows. He is well known throughout the animal protection movement for his criticism of animal welfare law and the property status of nonhuman animals, and for his abolitionist theory of animal rights.

He is the author of numerous books and articles on animal rights theory and animals and the law, including Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (2000), Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement (1996), Animals, Property, and the Law (1995), Vivisection and Dissection in the Classroom: A Guide to Conscientious Objection (with Anna E. Charlton) (1992), and Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation (2007).

Professor Francione and his partner and colleague, Adjunct Professor Anna E. Charlton, started and operated the Rutgers Animal Rights Law Clinic/Center from 1990-2000, making Rutgers the first university in the United States to have animal rights law as part of the regular academic curriculum, and to award students academic credit not only for classroom work, but also for work on actual cases involving animal issues. Francione and Charlton represented without charge individual animal advocates, grassroots animal groups, and national and international animal organizations. Francione and Charlton currently teach a course on human rights and animal rights, and a seminar on animal rights theory and the law. Professor Francione also teaches courses on criminal law, criminal procedure, jurisprudence, and legal philosophy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Gary L. Francione on March 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am the author of this book.

A reviewer, "Lataavi" claims that I maintain that vivisection is acceptable if it is necessary.

This claim is false.

In Chapter 2 of the book, I make quite clear that even if animal use were necessary to find cures for human illness (a position that I criticize), such use could not be justified as a moral matter.

"Lataavi" has for whatever reason blatantly and explicitly misrepresented the content of the book.

Gary L. Francione
Professor, Rutgers University
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Eric Prescott on June 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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Working Animals as Persons: Essays on on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation into my ridiculous schedule was relatively easy, in part because the book is comprised of individual, self-contained essays that allowed me to conveniently break my reading up into manageable sessions as time permitted. You might find this helpful as well. While the essays range in length, none of them are terribly long (particularly after the first two), and together they all provide an excellent and highly readable introduction to Professor Francione's abolitionist theory of animal rights. If you are one of those people who have put off reading his earlier books due to time constraints or for any other reason, this might be an ideal place to start.

I recommend not skipping over the introduction, particularly if you've never read Francione before. In it, he gets right to the pivotal assertion that the animal advocacy movement is, in effect, two very different movements: one that seeks to abolish animal exploitation by eradicating the property status of animals, and the other a movement that seeks the regulation of animal-using industries while failing to effectively challenge the property status of animals.

He expands on the core concepts of abolitionism in the first chapter, "Animals as Persons." That essay is itself a relatively brief but thorough presentation of Francione's theory as developed more fully in Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? (ITAR) While it is not a substitute for reading that book, "Animals as Persons" is a very clear essay that will quickly have you up to speed on the basic concepts.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Karin Hilpisch on October 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In Animals as Persons -- which is composed of seven separate essays, given thematic unity by an introductory section -- Francione explains, clarifies, and elaborates on the major themes of the abolitionist approach to animal rights, which are as follows:

-- The abolitionist approach to animal rights is based on veganism as the rejection of the commodity status of nonhumans and a recognition of their inherent value;

-- as long as animals are property, they can never be members of the moral community;

-- sentience is all that is rationally required for membership in the moral community;

-- animal welfare fails to provide significant protection for animal interests and because it allows the use of animals in circumstances in which we use no humans, it necessarily deprives animals of equal consideration.

The latter point is demonstrated by a number of so-called ''major victories'' of animal advocacy in the past dozen years (and before) which Francione criticizes, among other things PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) agreement with McDonald's on higher slaughter standards for its meat suppliers and on providing increased space for hens in egg batteries.

Francione also tackles the ecofeminist approach to animal ethics, responds to some objections to his theory of the property status of animals, analyses the use of animals in biomedical research, and refutes the argument made in Tom Regan's book The Case for Animal Rights (1983) that throwing a dog out of a lifeboat in order to save a human would be required by rights theory.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trish Roberts on November 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Gary L Francione will be viewed in the future as a very important historical figure. His work is extremely important
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By City Vegan on September 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
No where will you find more compelling and succinct arguments in favor of the rights of animals. Gary will leave you wishing you had his undeniable gift for communicating what is in his mind to the spoken (or written) word. In plain talk, he's fierce!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. V. Planinc on May 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read for anyone with an interest in animal rights, in particular Francione's abolitionist philosophy. Being a collection of essays, a lot of the points are covered multiple times in slightly different contexts, which really brings out the coherence and consistency of the abolitionist position. ie For those who might have doubted a point when framed a certain way, in the next section the same point is made in a different way, confirming that Francione was right to take that position all along.

Lost a single star only because I believe it might be slightly academic and too overwhelming for people who are brand new to animal rights issues. As such, I probably wouldn't recommend it as a first introductory book to get someone interested in animal rights. I think it's more for people who are already into the issues and want a deep overview of Francione's philosophy.
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